Physical Science

High Precision, Not High Energy: Video

Back in August, I gave a talk in Stockholm at the Nordita workshop for science writers, about precision measurement searches for physics beyond the Standard Model. There’s now video of this online: The video quality isn’t great, but if you’d like a clearer look at the slides, I’ve posted them on SlideShare. The talk was…

To Baltimore!

On Thursday I’ll be heading up to Baltimore to give a talk at Johns Hopkins University. I’ll be discussing an old favorite: The Monty Hall Problem! Actually, it’s been about two years since I’ve given a talk on that particular subject, so it will be nice to have an excuse to revisit it. From there…

The Chameleon in the Vacuum Chamber (Synopsis)

The particles of the standard model, some type of dark matter and dark energy, and the four fundamental forces. That’s all there is, right? What if that isn’t true? What if dark energy, for example, isn’t simply energy inherent to space itself? What if it isn’t just an unusual property of gravitation, but rather a dynamical…

Sulfur: As You Like It

Speaking of sulfur: This common element turns out to be highly useful for understanding planetary processes – both on Earth and Mars. Two new papers by Dr. Itay Halevy use sulfur chemistry to understand the history of sulfur-loving microbes at the bottom of the ocean and the compounds spewed from Martian volcanoes that may have…

“Derive happiness in oneself from a good day’s work, from illuminating the fog that surrounds us.” -Henri Matisse But the surrounding fog might not come from our minds nor from our world, but rather from the plane of the galaxy itself. Nevertheless, the brightest clusters — the ones placed serendipitously — are clearly visible (and…

Eureka: Bridge to Dark Matter

The first time you hear about dark matter, it sounds kind of crazy– asserting that we’re surrounded by tons of invisible stuff is usually a good way to get locked up. But the process of its discovery is surprisingly ordinary: it’s just what you do when you play cards. Here’s the second green-screen video I’ve…

“It’s a tad easier to be proud when you come in first than it is when you finish further back. But there’s no reason to hide when you don’t do as well as you’d hoped. You can’t run away from your problems.” -My Little Pony It’s been two weeks since our last edition of Comments of…

Benefits of an Academic Day Job

I’ve been quieter than usual here, partly because I’ve been crushingly busy, but primarily because most of the things I want to talk about, I can’t. Not yet, anyway. But I’m still alive, and this murderous term will be over soon, at which point blogging will pick up a bit. I will throw in a…

“Sometimes, I sit alone under the stars and think of the galaxies inside my heart, and truly wonder if anyone will ever want to make sense of all that I am.” -Testy McTesterson The largest galaxies in the Universe all have a few things in common: they all contain many trillions of stars, they all…

Throwback Thursday: Quantum Reality (Synopsis)

“I asked the Zebra, are you black with white stripes? Or white with black stripes? And the zebra asked me, Are you good with bad habits? Or are you bad with good habits? Are you noisy with quiet times? Or are you quiet with noisy times? Are you happy with some sad days? Or are…